The film is based on director Arden's "A New Communion for Freaks, Prophets and Witches", a play she staged with the Holocaust women's theatre troupe. It is comprised of a number of different episodes, each exploring a specific theme – female exploitation, voyeurism, sexual deprivation, etc. The Other Side is also a reflection of its creator's brush with madness.
The key concept behind The Other Side is intriguing. The film argues that madness is part of a cycle that leads to sanity. It also stresses that this complex process is often misunderstood by those who have never experienced madness. Cultural and societal taboos are cited amongst the main reasons for its existence.
The Other Side is also a radical feminist film, one that does not shy away from promoting chaos as a form of liberation. Purely political statements, however, are not part of the film's narrative.
Viewers unfamiliar with director Arden's legacy will undoubtedly be shocked with The Other Side. This is an extreme piece of cinema, which I suspect even the most liberal of viewers may find difficult to tolerate. There is a sense of anger in it that borders nihilism in its most pure form.
The Other Side is a film Dusan Makavejev would have loved to direct. It is controversial, provocative and very, very disturbing. Highly Recommended. Director: Jane Arden.
Cast: Sheila Allen, Jane Arden, Jack Bond, Liz Danciger, Elaine Donovan, Susanka Fraey, Ann Lynn, Sally Minford, Jenny Moss, Penny Slinger. United Kingdom, 1972.
Download The Other Side of the Underneath.